Monday, March 28, 2016

If You "'Just' Want to be a Mom"

If I've ever heard you say you, "just want to be a mom," chances are, I've rolled my eyes at you...

I'M SORRY. Please forgive me! 



Obviously becoming a mom has changed my perspective more, but it started when I worked in a residential treatment center for young girls before I got married and realized none of them would be there if they had a mother more dedicated to her calling. 

Please don't say you are 'just' a mom anymore, because I know just as well as you do that you are SO much more than that. If you need to hear that your role as a mother is close to Godliness, watch this: Behold Thy Mother. It will be the best 16 minutes and 44 seconds of your day (besides cuddling your cuties of course.) That was truly an answer to my prayers last year. I'm not going to tell you how amazing you are because honestly, I would hope you already know that. There's no need to justify your important role to anyone! 



But I hope being a mom doesn't stop you from getting an education. I knew several women who stopped going to college because they wanted to be mothers. While that is a very prestigious eternal goal, please keep going! It's such a benefit to you and your family to get a college education! I know that none of us plan to lose our husbands when we get married wether it be to death or divorce but it happens and I just want you to be prepared. My mother was married 23 years and then my parents divorced. She was then pushed into this world she never wanted to be in. The college world, trying to get a degree so she could find a job that would pay her enough to take care of herself once the alimony was over. She did it! I am so proud of her for it! But she is not rare. Mothers all the time have to find ways to take care of their families. School is so much easier when you are younger (from what I hear). I've had several mom's in my classes who were coming back to school after divorces. 

I remember one with 4 kids, she looked to be around 30 years old. She was having a hard time with school and raising 4 kids. She was receiving child support for them. After some time, she and her Ex Husband came to an agreement that they each would have full custody of 2 kids. They went to court and it was also decided that he didn't need to pay her child support anymore since they each had fully custody of 2 children. Well that threw her for a loop so she then needed to work to pay for the kids she had. AHHH how stressful?!?! Work, school, parenting! Just pick 2 and you're stressed to the max!



Life insurance isn't the answer if your husband wants to leave you or if he looses his job and it takes him a while to find a new one. You could stay home for 20 years and if he wants out you get a few years of alimony and then you're on your own. I feel like I see or hear of a new divorce every other week. It truly saddens me! The summer I got married I had 2 close friends tell me their situations and let me know they wanted to leave their husbands. I'm sitting there thinking "HOLY CRAP! What did I get myself into?" I was a newlywed trying to give marital advice?!? What did I know? Well I can tell you that with strong gratitude for my education in marriage and family studies I asked them to both give their husbands another chance and not to leave. Well they both did excellent or maybe I had a good feeling about each and was led to say what I did, because they are each very happy with their husbands now. 

I want your families to stay together forever! But I am also not oblivious to the fact that separation can happen to anyone and I want mama's to be prepared. It's sort of like keeping a food storage. Some people may not need it, but others might be SO grateful they heeded that counsel. 

If this only encourages 1 mama to finish school who may really need that education one day, it will be worth it to me! It's never too late to go back to school. It's such a benefit to you even though you may never bring in a pay check. 

With Love,
-A-

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Don't Marry for Love Only


((I've included some of our 'not so perfect' family pictures with this post-- because this is our reality.))

(Jaxon had to be bribed with fruit snacks. He had 4 packages)


Why do people get married to a particular person? I think the most common answer is because they "love" that person. Is love a justifiable reason to spend eternity with someone? I don't think it is. How many divorces each year claim they "fell out of love"? Well I don't know the statistics, but I can tell you it's one too many.

To young people out there thinking about marriage because you get butterflies when you're with him or her, you love this person, you enjoy being around them, they accept you, they are your better half, or you just feel like yourself around them, I've got to call BS on this. These qualities are NOT going to get you through a lifelong marriage. I want to pose a few different reasons to look for. 

Those butterflies will fade. Think of how comfortable you were with your parents and siblings growing up. It's going to be like that. Butterfly feelings don't come around often when you and your spouse are comfortable going #2 on the toilet in front of each other, when you start having financial troubles, when you start having kids, and so much more! You won't always feel like you're "in love." Sure you love them but that isn't the same thing. Feeling like yourself around them isn't always a good thing. Personally, I get moody and emotional. My PMS time involves being depressed for 2 days. I'm a pretty impatient person.. I want things in the time frame that I have planned... Do you think my husband would say he loves that I can be myself around him? Probably not always. I'm sure know he wishes I was more patient and complained a lot less. He also knows that I wish he spent less time on his phone and wasn't so obsessed with sports. This is where, "but they accept me" doesn't work. We are suppose to make each other better people so that when we are old and look back on life, we can see how much we have changed for the better with the help of our spouses. Just accepting who we were when we first got married isn't going to progress us much. 

I would never call him my 'better half' nor does he call me his. First I think it's cheesy and cliche. Second, we are human. Half of me is a pretty decent person and half of my probably sucks and is unenjoyable.. same for him and same for everyone. Luckily together we make a pretty decent team. On top of that though, you shouldn't be looking for your other half. You should already be a whole person when you find them. Two whole people not two half people. Jordan and I were two whole people when we starting dating. We wanted to find a spouse, but not to complete us. We compliment each other but complete each other.  

So here is what I want to pose for you to search for instead. Search for someone you make a good team with. Someone you can trade off work with. When you become a parent things change SO much in your relationship. I had a professor in college tell me the majority of divorces occur within 5 years of having your first child.. Assuming this is true, I can see why! After children think of your marriage less like your typical 'In love- I want to spend all my time with you' and more like a shift trade at a job. Let's use a nurses profession. One of you works the day shift and one of you works the night shift and when you interact it's filling the person coming in on the current patients, their vitals, how much medicine they've had, when they can have more, what the pain level has been like etc. Then you leave and the other person takes over. 

THIS is your new relationship. Jordan comes, I tell him when the last feedings and diaper changes were. How the moods have been and then he takes over and I do something different (gym/clean/cook/homework/nap/etc). Same thing goes the other way when trading off. Sometimes we think we can split and conquer (but mostly we both feel defeated) where we each take a kid and whoever has the toddler gets him out of the house because he goes crazy inside all day, but the baby is still pretty new and can't be out that much. Neither of you feel you get enough time to yourselves. He gets to play basketball twice a week with friends if he wants while I say home with the kids (usually the toddler is asleep by then though.) My alone time usually consists of napping since I feed the baby in the night. We trade off watching the kids when we go to the gym. Taking them grocery shopping is a nightmare so he stays home with them and I go. Do you see where I am going with this? There isn't a lot of "us" time after you have children. I don't want to scare anyone off from having them, because we truly do love and enjoy our boys, but our relationship isn't going to be like it was before them (maybe after they grow up and move out?) and they are a handful!!!
"Mama, please don't touch me!"
 


Our toddler is new to this toddler bed. He often runs out of his room and gets in bed with us anywhere from 2-5am. The baby also sleeps in bed with us because he can't sleep without being next to me... So when you think of marriage as that cute couple cuddling in bed together-- erase that idea from your mind! It isn't realistic when you have babies. Instead picture one of you on the very edge of the bed one of you on the other edge of the bed with a babies face buried in the mom's chest and a toddler in the middle of the bed with the most space and his leg is on one of your faces. Romantic right?
"Anyone want a fruit snack?"

You know that cute family picture you want? You'll rarely feel like you captured it, or be thankful that by some miracle out of the 100 attempts your toddler looks like he wants to be in a picture with you for 1 of them! 

Last night Jordan was up with our toddler at at 5am while I slept with the baby next to me and then this morning I was up with the toddler while he was in bed sleeping with the baby. We know that one day this is going to get better. They get older everyday. We just have to work as a team and understand that right now, with 2 kids under the age of 2, most of our days are about sacrifice.


Nothing I am saying is anything new. Anyone older than us is probably shaking their heads and smiling because they have been there. But I also hope & pray they are thinking "it gets better." But this is for those cheesy and at times unrealistic couples thinking marriage is about love and being yourself. I can tell you now that after sleep deprivation from a child you are NOT yourselves, and you also need to learn how to love and cooperate with your significant other when you aren't yourselves. 



Find out if you are a good team before you get married. Build something together. Babysit. Try to teach the other one how to do your job. Also before you try these things, maybe set your alarm clocks the night before for every 2 hours and then stay up for 30 minutes after it goes off. Try this for a week. If you're arguing and frustrated with each other-- GOOD! You should be. But you'll need to learn how to work together as a team. To me this is the most important part of your marriage. At least one of you needs to be a pretty patient person. I wasn't blessed with that naturally, but am SO grateful my husband is! I'm the more organized one. I'm more emotional and he's more logical (pretty typical for men and women). We need both. 

My husband just went to the store with one child. I am home with the other. Welcome to our lives as parents! 

Yours Truly, 
-A-